Stargazing

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Heddwen
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Stargazing

Postby Heddwen » 13 Aug 2017, 10:13

Just wondering :thinking: Did anyone see the meteor shower last night in the UK?...https://www.theguardian.com/science/201 ... -to-see-it

or the eclipse (USA)? https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar ... guide.html

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Re: Stargazing

Postby KeithS » 13 Aug 2017, 13:50

We had a clear night here in Rotherham, the stars were out - and I didn't see a single meteor!
My wife however saw several.
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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 14 Aug 2017, 02:30

On Saturday, August 19, I’ll be running one of the telescopes at the local pre-eclipse event, “Stars Over Sherman Ranch,” near Marquette, Nebraska. If the weather forecast looks good for Monday, August 21, I’ll be at The Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska to help with public viewing for the eclipse itself.
On the off chance that anyone in my area (or anyone heading into my area) is lurking on this message board :hiya:here’s where you can find more information. I do have one friend who’s definitely bringing her family over from England to join us, yay!
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby PipingDruid » 14 Aug 2017, 14:18

Alas all I saw were cloudy skies hope the 21's has clear skies I will be very upset if I lug my 8" Meade LX90 out only to view more clouds.

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 14 Aug 2017, 20:55

Heh, yeah, that’s not a lightweight scope, Piping Druid—it looks like it weighs about 53 lbs., including the tripod? The Meade Schmidt-Cassegrains are definitely nice instruments, though.

My husband and I will be watching the forecast carefully on Saturday and Sunday. If it’s not looking favorable for Monday, the event in Aurora will be canceled, and we’ll try to reposition ourselves under clearer skies.

Not sure exactly where we’ll end up if we travel. But we do have a few backup sites in mind, and they’re all safely away from the major metropolitan areas.
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 14 Aug 2017, 21:09

Incidentally, I would consider the figure that’s quoted in The Guardian to be inaccurately optimistic, with respect to the number of Perseids that an observer would’ve been able to see at this year’s peak. A more realistic expectation, in my experience, would normally be closer to 60 meteors per hour, and that’s under clear, dark, moonless skies. Any glare coming from the moon will tend to obscure the majority of the meteors that can be seen in a shower, and this year the moon was still about 75 percent full. So the American Meteor Society was predicting that this most recent round of Perseids would number about 20–30 per hour under the best conditions, which would occur around 4:00 a.m. local daylight savings time on August 12. That sounded about right to me, although I’ll confess I didn’t check. :razz:

The ”80–100 per hour” figure that’s in The Guardian would be a typical zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) for the Perseids near their peak. The ZHR is essentially a standardized calculation that allows professional astronomers to track variations in meteor shower rates while correcting for problems like cloud cover, light pollution, atmospheric extinction, etc. It is quite uncommon to ever physically see the full ZHR in practical reality. When I did meteor surveys for my senior project in physics in college, the process of calculating ZHR often left me feeling a little disheartened, since the results gave a sense of just how many meteors I had missed seeing!

So no one should feel bad, if you looked and didn’t see much. The moon phase will be greatly improved for the Perseids next year. In 2018, the young crescent moon will set early in the evening on August 12 and 13, leaving the skies good and dark all night long. So, something to look forward to, perhaps!
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Heddwen » 15 Aug 2017, 13:47

Well, I saw nothing :gloomy: Never mind there's always next time....enjoy the eclipse!

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Re: Stargazing

Postby PipingDruid » 15 Aug 2017, 15:07

Heh, yeah, that’s not a lightweight scope, Piping Druid—it looks like it weighs about 53 lbs., including the tripod? The Meade Schmidt-Cassegrains are definitely nice instruments, though.

My husband and I will be watching the forecast carefully on Saturday and Sunday. If it’s not looking favorable for Monday, the event in Aurora will be canceled, and we’ll try to reposition ourselves under clearer skies.

Not sure exactly where we’ll end up if we travel. But we do have a few backup sites in mind, and they’re all safely away from the major metropolitan areas.
Try 75lbs, I have the LX90 sitting on the GPS model LX200 base with the heavy tripod. I hope to have clear skies have solar lens and CCD camera for it as well.
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There was a young lady named Bright whose speed was far faster than light; She set out one day in a relative way and returned on the previous night.

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 15 Aug 2017, 17:12

Oooh, that is awesome: you’ve upgraded the tripod that would ordinarily come with the standard kit. I always love learning more about the equipment that other astronomy enthusiasts are using. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures, PipingDruid!

With gear like that, I imagine you must have plans in place to head into the path of totality, yes? I wish you happy observing wherever you land, good luck with your imaging, and safe travels if you’re on the road!

Um, do you maybe want to come up here? We’re now anticipating something like 500 people for the Stars Over Sherman Ranch program on Saturday. Yesterday I was asked if I can wo-man a second telescope, in addition to operating my own. That’ll be, er, exciting—figuring out how to make an unfamiliar scope work on the fly, with eager visitors already lined up for peeks at Saturn, Jupiter, Albireo, and M13.

My own scope is a 15" Dob without a clock drive, so she of course needs adjustments every few minutes, as well.

I do love her, though. I shared a rather goofy picture of her last year in my Ovate introduction thread. Since not everyone can see that, I’ll repost it briefly here. I was doing my best Vanna White impression while assisting at a “Young Naturalists” summer program for adolescents and young teens.
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 15 Aug 2017, 19:18

Well, I saw nothing :gloomy: Never mind there's always next time....enjoy the eclipse!
Yeah, truly sorry about that Heddwen. It’s disappointing, I know, when something is promoted in the news or social media, and it doesn’t actually materialize!

It appears there was an extra dollop of hype circulating around the Perseids this year, which I didn’t actually know until I looked it up this morning. But as an amateur astronomer who volunteers regularly at public stargazing events, I do come across that sort of thing with disappointing regularity. I find it very frustrating, because people go outside expecting a real treat, only to end up thinking, “What’s the big deal?” And then they have no motivation to go out the next time, when there really is a big deal.

Supermoons, for example? Never a big deal. The size difference between supermoons and regular full moons is so difficult for most of us to gauge, visually, that if there wasn’t any hype that something special is happening, virtually no one would be able to guess. All full moons look big and lovely, when they’re near the horizon.

Major meteor showers, active auroral displays, naked-eye comets, total lunar eclipses, and partial and annular solar eclipses? Not life-changing events, as a general rule, but still very beautiful and enjoyable to see—generally worth the effort when sky conditions are agreeable.

Total solar eclipses, though? Completely in a class by themselves. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s experienced a total solar eclipse without feeling somehow unmoved or unchanged by it. I’ve seen one myself, back in 1998, and don’t expect to feel any less moved this time around.

Thanks for starting this thread, so I can share that!
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby PipingDruid » 18 Aug 2017, 21:08

Very nice scope Tracy I like that, my first scope was a DOB I built from scratch it was only 4.5" but it was enough to firmly sink the preverbal hook in my jaw. I still use it when showing kids and sidewalk show and tell, for one it is WAY lighter then the LX200GPS and I don't hold my breath as much when young kids gather around it. We will be picking it up from my house in north Louisiana and heading down to south to share with the grove. I would love to travel up north with it but alas I don't have that much vacation saved up to do that and Gulf coast gathering. So we will stay local partial eclipse for me weather permitting. I wish I had known you were into the hobby at gulf coast gathering would have talk you up about it LOL. Well may you have clear skies up there and post some PICS! I hope to update if any are needed my software on mine this weekend and run it through some test make sure it is still up and running have not used it in a while with work having me away.

Cheers,

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There was a young lady named Bright whose speed was far faster than light; She set out one day in a relative way and returned on the previous night.

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 22 Aug 2017, 15:14

PipingDruid, oh, that’s quite a quandary, to have to choose between attending the GCG or traveling to the path of totality. I would so much love to sometime be a part of a local group or grove for an event like this—there’s something really special about sharing the sky with other Druids. Were you able to see anything at all? I’ve looked at the archives for Baton Rouge at Weather Underground, and it appears that southern Louisiana was mostly under clouds at the time of the eclipse.

There’s another total solar eclipse coming to the U.S. in 2024, as you probably already know. We may go to Texas for that one. Meanwhile, I do hope to return to the GCG in 2018—I already have the March 22–25 dates marked off on my calendar—and I’d be delighted to connect with you and to chat about astronomy or whatever you like!

Regarding the eclipse here in Nebraska, I have to say that my husband Dan and I were extremely worried about the forecast for Aurora. He made the call on Sunday to commit to our location, though, since the predictions for “partly cloudy” skies meant that the event at The Leadership Center might still be successful. He did make the correct call. As if on cue, the clouds broke just enough to allow a decently good view of the corona. A great cheer went up from the roughly 600–700 guests who were on the field!

I will post a link to a 3D video of the eclipse, as seen at our specific site. Dan finished most of the edits on that last night, and he was anticipating that he’d be able to upload that to YouTube later today.
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby AshRocks » 23 Aug 2017, 06:42

Total solar eclipses, though? Completely in a class by themselves. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s experienced a total solar eclipse without feeling somehow unmoved or unchanged by it.
I was so fortunate to see the total solar eclipse on Monday at the Oregon Coast, and yes, it was a moving experience! My heart raced, the chill of the ocean mists disappeared as blood coursed in my veins, and I sensed magic coursing through the universe while seeing a rainbow of colors flow from the corona during totality. It was a fantastically beautiful experience! I am now obsessed with drawing circles, eclipses, and coronas!

Love this thread, including Tracy G's "Vanna White" photo with her tele! Thanks for sharing :saturn:
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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 24 Aug 2017, 00:27

That is thoroughly delightful, AshRocks, hooray! I’m so glad you captured that picture of totality. Thank you so much for posting it! :cloud9:

And for any of you who might be interested:

The upload of the virtual reality video hasn’t been working quite right for us. It still gives a rough idea of the scene at Aurora, though, so the link for that is here.

If you’re watching on a computer screen, you should be able to use your touchpad or mouse to grab and drag for different views: all around and up and down. If you’re using a relatively new smart phone, you should be able to turn that in any direction and see the same views that you would’ve seen if you were standing in the same spot as the camera.

Here’s a screenshot of the first second of totality, as shown from one possible angle. I’m in the lower right corner of the picture, in front of the black tent and behind the white rectangle, which is foam board that I set up in a failed attempt to capture shadow bands. We were beset with clouds, and got very lucky that we were able to view totality, as you can see in the image below.

Also, just because this is incredibly fun, here’s an ABC News video that captures the scene of totality at Carhenge. Carhenge is located 300 miles northwest of our site in Aurora. The crowd there, too, got lucky.
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby PipingDruid » 25 Aug 2017, 15:47

It was a great event had a lot of fun with the grove, telescope was acting up but great time anyway.

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There was a young lady named Bright whose speed was far faster than light; She set out one day in a relative way and returned on the previous night.

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Dyfn » 25 Aug 2017, 17:15

I know what an eclipse looks like. I've seen photos, and video. But it's nothing like being in a field when the sky goes dark, the temperature drops, and the ring of white fire looks down on you. I'm so glad I made the effort to drive into the totality zone.
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Re: Stargazing

Postby PipingDruid » 25 Aug 2017, 19:15

Great pics thanks for sharing.
There was a young lady named Bright whose speed was far faster than light; She set out one day in a relative way and returned on the previous night.

http://pipingdruid.blogspot.com
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Re: Stargazing

Postby Dyfn » 28 Aug 2017, 19:53

Well, I saw nothing :gloomy: Never mind there's always next time....enjoy the eclipse!
Yeah, truly sorry about that Heddwen. It’s disappointing, I know, when something is promoted in the news or social media, and it doesn’t actually materialize!

It appears there was an extra dollop of hype circulating around the Perseids this year, which I didn’t actually know until I looked it up this morning. But as an amateur astronomer who volunteers regularly at public stargazing events, I do come across that sort of thing with disappointing regularity. I find it very frustrating, because people go outside expecting a real treat, only to end up thinking, “What’s the big deal?” And then they have no motivation to go out the next time, when there really is a big deal.

Thanks for starting this thread, so I can share that!
I agree. "Biggest Meteor Shower in History!" Seriously? Who benefits from hype like that? Last time, I got my teen up to see. He lasted half an hour and went back in. I didn't even get him up this time. Besides the moon, there were enough cloud cover to pretty much obscure the show.

On the other hand, the eclipse was definitely worth the effort for me. I've put together my thoughts on the experience here. I know folks who weren't moved to bother with it, whether from lack of interest or as a backlash to the hype, and I have to feel sorry for them.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” -- Aldo Leopold

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Tracy G » 29 Aug 2017, 02:54

PipingDruid, that is fantastic! I’m so glad that you had a good time with the grove, and that you were able to get those wonderful pictures. I tried taking my own photo of leaf-filtered crescent suns, but yours is prettier.

Dyfn, I am sooo happy that you and your son were able to experience totality. That is an elegant account that you’ve posted at your blog. I love the way the prominences pop out in your photos, too.

I can definitely feel where you’re coming from, in your blog comments concerning the mesmerizing effect of the corona. We had 2m31s of totality in Aurora, and I must’ve spent at least 90 percent of that just absorbing the appearance of the corona. I did manage to glance at the sunset colors around the horizon twice, and at Venus once, but the corona really stole the show.

My only wildlife observation came a few seconds after totality, when a common nighthawk passed over the observing field, visible in silhouette against the rapidly lightening skies.

I have to add that the passage of time felt different during my first total solar eclipse, almost as if some freakish dilation effect was occurring, and time slowed down. It was in fact a longer eclipse—in 1998, we saw 3m37s of totality from our position a bit east of Aruba. So there was another full minute to take in the scene. I still remember the frigate birds that approached the ship, searching for a place to roost. But with this latest eclipse, there wasn’t as much opportunity to absorb everything. And totality went by so fast.
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“Herein therefore lies our present problem: to find forms of expression for the time-spirit of the seasons in such a way as to enrich the spirit of devotion to the soil, to express and to intensify co-operation with nature.”
...—Ross Nichols, “An Examination of Creative Myth,” in The Cosmic Shape (1946)

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Re: Stargazing

Postby Dyfn » 29 Aug 2017, 16:08

PipingDruid, is the solar filter for your telescope the same material as the eclipse glasses, or is it more of a welder's glass?

Tracey G: 3 1/2 minutes? Wow, that's luxurious. Although still a pretty brief part of the total process. :) I can make no promises, but I'll keep an eye out for the one in 2024. At the current rate, I'm sure it will be "The Most Spectacular Eclipse Since Babylon Was A Mud Hut".
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